Queen again | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 15, 2011 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, May 15, 2011

Queen again


Of all sports, chess is the game that is played most in the mind, and a 67-year-old Rani Hamid proved that as long as the mind is strong and sound, age is irrelevant. Bangladesh's first International Women's Master won a record 18th national title by defeating Dilara Jahan Nupur in the eleventh and final round of the Arlin Developer 32nd National Women's Chess Championship at the Chess Federation yesterday.
Rani said she has got everything from this game but still enjoys the challenge: “I am not too excited with the title. I enjoy playing chess as I have always done. I don't set any specific targets now, since I have achieved all that I have wanted from the game. But I will keep playing as long as I can.”
Rani, who won the first six consecutive national titles since its inception in 1979, collected 9.5 points from eleven rounds while Nazrana Khan Eva finished runner-up with 9 points after she beat IWM Shamima Akter Liza, who had also collected 9 points, in a tie-breaker. Sharmin Sultana became fourth with eight points while Mahmuda Haque Mili was placed fifth with 6.5 points.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh Chess Federation's general secretary Mokaddes Hossain informed that they would request the authorities at the Guinness Book of World Records to enlist Rani as winner of the highest number of women's national titles, even though they are not yet certain whether there is anyone else who has won more titles at the national stage.
Rani started this year's campaign on the wrong foot, losing to former champion Zakia Sultana in the first round. Since then she had been steady, winning four rounds in a row before drawing the sixth round with Eva.
However, she beat defending champion Liza to keep in sight of the leaders. Liza's unexpected defeat to Sharmin Sultana in the tenth round paved the way for Rani to go on top and reclaim the title after two barren years.
She said age was catching up with her performance, which was the reason she attributed for her first round loss. She also felt this year's competition was the most competitive in years. It must be mentioned that the closest challenger to Rani's seemingly unbreakable record of 18 titles is Syeda Shabana Parvin with only five titles to her name.
Defending champion Liza said she did not find her rhythm during the whole competition and her performance kept fluctuating throughout. She also said she had to come from Narayanganj each day to play the games which might have had an adverse impact on her performance.

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